A trained person has been identified at the Quadram Institute to take blood. An amendment application and approval from the Health Research Authority has been obtained, and a contract delegating study responsibilities between the University of East Anglia and the Quadram Institute is underway. Once this is in place, home visits and sample collection can commence. Despite not being able to collect samples yet, major progress in method development and optimisation has been made. This was done using banked samples from Daniel Vipond’s PhD. Between (fellow PhD students) Fiona Newberry, ShenYuan Hsieh and myself we have optimised the following: isolation of virus particles from stool samples, viral identification based on unique sequences, and a method to screen for antibody responses to gut microbes. I have recently had a review with my PhD supervisors, the purpose of which is to identify how much progress has been made. I received positive comments that have given me some added motivation: “The quality of the work undertaken to date is also very good with considerable careful and detailed effort being put into evaluating multiple experimental variables to optimise the assay”. Looking forward, the next couple of months entail home visits, sample collection and sample processing, all of which take a considerable amount of time. While this is occurring, method development will be continued and progressed. In addition, we have also been very kindly invited to give a presentation at the Shropshire ME Group Conference in May. This is a great opportunity to communicate our research to the public, and to engage with the public to hear their thoughts. The move in date to the new Quadram Institute building is now August 2018. This provides us with plenty of time to do the first round of sample collection. On a finishing note, I would really appreciate those who received a study invitation, and are interested in participating in the study to please contact myself soon to register your interest. Bye for now – Katharine Katharine Seton - Quadram Institute, Norwich A New Paper from Fiona Newberry et al IiMER-funded PhD student Fiona Newberry has recently had a paper published - “Does the microbiome and virome contribute to myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome?” – with an interesting observation “..as the number of microbiome studies increases, the need for greater consistency in study design and analysis also increases. Comparisons between different ME/CFS microbiome studies are difficult because of differences in patient selection and diagnosis criteria, sample processing, genome sequencing and downstream bioinformatics analysis. It is therefore important that microbiome studies adopt robust, reproducible and consistent study design to enable more reliable and valid comparisons and conclusions to be made between studies. " https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/66615/ Invest in ME research (Charity Nr. 1153730) www.investinme.org Page 19 of 56

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